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12-12-2009, 01:11 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Using modern software like Lightroom, Aperture, ACDSee Pro, or Lightzone, there is no difference apparent to the user between JPEG and RAW.
Marc,
You are making my point. Step back for a minute. The OP being "new to anything digital" means to me that they are not the kind of person that has a lot of experience with computer PP software, and right now they don't want to have to buy, or learn how to use any of those programs to see an image.

For people that have a good camera and just want to see pictures, all they have to do is shoot in jpeg, and drag and drop to any computer. No photography software needed. I don't have to tell you that, but most people out there using cameras don't want to go through all the RAW-jpeg PP tweaking and conversion stuff that many of us enjoy. Surely you must know people that just want the simplest way to see their pictures. For an excellent camera like the k-x, most people will never have to do any PP whatsoever, and still enjoy striking photos.

12-12-2009, 01:22 PM   #17
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Well, using modern software there is a difference between JPEG and RAW:
JPEG's are done in the camera, and if you wish to change things afterwards (like changing colours and exposure) you may loose data in the image - the more you fiddle with the image, the more data will be lost. (best is to use software with at least 16 bit workspace, they don't destroy data as much as software with 8 bit workspace).

With RAW, all those parameters builds up the image and they can be changed. RAW is like a negative, it needs to be developed and by adjusting those parameters you can develop it in different ways. The RAW image by itself can not be printed or showned "as is" because the RAW data looks just grey, dull, lacking in contrast, colours and sharpness.

Modern software makes the process of developing RAW into JPEG's or TIFF's or whatever, an enjoyable and creative process - but you still have to do it. With JPEG's straight from the camera, you don't - normally - has to do anything more. It is ready and done. Or at least that is the idea with it.

With RAW, you have to sit there and post process. It may be fun, it may be quite easy with software like iPhoto and Aperture, or Pentax own that comes with the camera, but it still needs to be done.

So, for beginners - I advice on JPEG's.
Use RAW when you are ready to work with a "digital darkroom" - when you have learned the camera and getting to know it, then it may be time to learn post processing. Or maybe not.
12-12-2009, 04:09 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by tkcampbell Quote
so Jpeg is like a polariod camera and raw would be developing the film yourself?
A more apt analogy would be slide and print film.
JPEGs is a fine image format, if you get exactly the image you want 'in camera'. RAW in more forgiving and gives you more options in terms of creativity on the post processing end. There's also the cost consideration of the higher amount of storage space that RAW format images require, but disk space is cheap these days.

As a practical matter, people often shoot JPEGs because
  • They shoot tons of images, so storage is at a premium
  • They're not going to do any post processing
  • They need to turn the files around quicker, since they can be opened by pretty much any, even vaguely graphics related, program
  • Based on conditions/experience they're sure they've got the shot (esp. exposure) nailed.

People often shoot RAWs because
  • They know they're going to do post processing
  • Quality. JPEG is usually a lossy file format. Not matter how good the compression, with JPEG you're still losing at least some data. Whether the incremental quality difference between a high quality JPEG and a RAW file is worth it is a judgement call.
  • Under difficult conditions, the increased overhead of RAW helps insure that you get a usable image.

You can turn a RAW file into the JPEG you would have gotten; the reverse isn't true.
12-12-2009, 05:35 PM   #19
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thank you everyone, i have a love for all things B&W so being able to adjust contrast and Brightness, saturation, and so on will being like in the darkroom just at my computer instead. and from the sounds of it once i get to know the ins and outs of my camera i will probably prefer Raw, my brother gave photoshop today, christmas was early here for me!! so thanks to you all again.

12-12-2009, 07:57 PM   #20
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My Experience

QuoteOriginally posted by tkcampbell Quote
im new to digital photography, well digital anything really and my husband just bought me a new white K-x which im loving but i dont know what RAW format or JPEG format means and when i want to use which one or why, can anyone help me?
A year and a few months ago I didn't know the difference between raw and JPEG. I did just as suggested here in this thread and shot JPEG with my new Pentax. As I became more comfortable with the camera I started looking at software and I tried some 30 day downloads to see what they were like. I really didn't see myself processing the photo's and then putting them into another album type program so I tried Lightroom. It works with raw or JPEG the same way and you don't even need to know if you are using raw or not. Gradually as I learned more about the program, (mainly from reading books from the library) I started to understand more and more about what going on with the photo's and why I might want to use raw over JPEG. Now I very rarely shot JPEG. I prefer raw for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that there is less to think about when taking the photo. With JPEG, you want to get the photo right a the time of taking the picture. You can make changes afterwards but not to the same extent as with raw. That is why there are so many options on the camera for white balance, sharpness, contrast, and more. Most of that is irrelevant with raw. That means when I'm taking a picture I can concentrate on the subject, the exposure (speed, aperture & ISO) and not worry about the "other stuff". When I get home and have more time, I can look at the photo and then make those adjustments for tone, sharpness, and even noise reduction. Raw gives you the room (often called headroom) to make those changes. I enjoy it.

At first I set the camera to shoot both raw and JPEG so that I could compare what I was doing with what the camera would do. That's also a good option. Eventually, if you enjoy the software and spending time at the computer, you will shoot raw. If you would rather spend the time shooting the photo's and have better things to do than adjust them later, you will stick with JPEG and that is just fine. It is all up to you. That is the great thing about these new DSLR camera's. So many options to suit anyone and everyone.
12-12-2009, 11:08 PM   #21
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i have already started to "play around" with PP i thought i would give it a try and i am hooked already, i loved spending time in the darkroom creating art, now i get to do it at my computer, thanks everyone, and glen i will for sure try using both to see the difference and i will hit the book store tomorrow
12-13-2009, 09:30 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
You are making my point. Step back for a minute. The OP being "new to anything digital" means to me that they are not the kind of person that has a lot of experience with computer PP software, and right now they don't want to have to buy, or learn how to use any of those programs to see an image.
Yes, it's true if you wish to do *no* PP whatsoever, not now and not in the future, then JPEG is the clear winner. But as soon as you acknowledge you might want to do PP occasionally, you need software. And it is the notion that RAW makes this hard than JPEG than I am objecting to. Even free programs like Picasa can completely eliminate the differences.

Mostly, I was uncomfortable with the analogy between RAW and developing film yourself, because it makes it sound like RAW requires hours of work per image when nothing could be further from the truth. If you don't do PP on a given image but have software installed, shooting RAW adds *seconds* to the process, not hours. And if you *do* want to do PP, shooting RAW takes absolutely no more time than JPEG.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 12-13-2009 at 12:08 PM.
12-13-2009, 10:44 AM   #23
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Yep, only difference nowdays is size (both for HD space and buffer filling) and perhaps starting with an image that possibly needs less PP.

Even with RAW you can batch convert on import to a preset to simulate the in-camera JPEG.

12-13-2009, 11:20 AM   #24
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Lightroom Books

QuoteOriginally posted by tkcampbell Quote
i have already started to "play around" with PP i thought i would give it a try and i am hooked already, i loved spending time in the darkroom creating art, now i get to do it at my computer, thanks everyone, and glen i will for sure try using both to see the difference and i will hit the book store tomorrow
The thread may be drifting but since you mentioned the books, I've borrowed and read several. The one I ended up buying was Photoshop Lightroom 2 by Rob Sheppard. He's a little weak in the adjustment brush and spot clean-up but overall I found it best. One of the others was clearly written by someone who only uses a Mac but puts PC keystrokes in parentheses just to make his book sell. Others emphasize different parts of the program. There is a podcast that I download and I think it is called simply Lightroom for Digital Photographers. It is one of the best ways to learn the features of the programs.

I noted that for some strange reason both the books and the podcasts really emphasize the cryptic keystrokes rather than simply clicking on a function. Maybe I'm the only one out there that prefers the mouse to memorizing special key combinations.

Have fun.
12-13-2009, 04:31 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Glen Quote
I noted that for some strange reason both the books and the podcasts really emphasize the cryptic keystrokes rather than simply clicking on a function. Maybe I'm the only one out there that prefers the mouse to memorizing special key combinations.

Have fun.
the bottom line is that many commands are faster to access with keystrokes than the mouse.

A mouse is good for achieving a specific level of efficiency and then staying there.

As for Raw vs JPEG, maybe I am the wrong person to comment here as I have shot almost exclusively with digital.

FOr me, the bottom line is that I adjust the jpeg settings as a function of the light conditions, something like changing film (for those of you old enough to remember what that is) I try to get exposure spot on in the camera, and the look I want right out of the camera. FOr me, I see no need to shopot raw. In fact, the biggest argument I have heard is that it is easier to fix mistakes. Aside from that, most PP cna be done either in raw or jpeg. yes raw has more bit depth, but for minor adjustments that is not relevant.

What I find is that most people seem willing to spend more time playing infront of a computer than learning what the camera can do.
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